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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Introduction to English Music

Introduction to English Music

(p.60) (p.61) Chapter 10 Introduction to English Music
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

English music is like the tree that flowers once in a hundred years; but unless the tree is alive there can be no flower. Its life depends not only on its intrinsic vitality, but on the soil on which it grows, the rain that falls on it, the sun that shines on it, and the care with which the soil is dug and turned and weeds are got rid of and pestiferous insects warded off. The plant of English musical culture is a small and tender growth, for the very reason that those whose business it was to nurture it have failed to do so. It is said that England has never produced a virtuoso. This is possibly true, though surely Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst are virtuosi among composers. The virtuoso performer is the foaming crest of the wave, but the real power of the wave lies below the surface.

Keywords:   music, musical culture, England, Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, virtuoso performer

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